The Weekly Run newsletter: Kyle Korver recalls his own All-Star experience as ‘another thing in my career that I never could have imagined’
Detroit Pistons guard Luke Kennard, right, defends against Utah Jazz guard Kyle Korver (26) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday,Jan. 14 , 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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With the All-Star Game reserves set to be announced Thursday night, Kyle Korver — the only current Jazz player ever to have played in the game — was asked about what the experience is like.
To this day, he replied, he still can’t believe he got to be a part of it.
“That had never even been on my radar. I don’t really consider myself that level of player,” Korver said. “… It was an unbelievable experience for me — another thing in my career that I never could have imagined.”
Korver was with the Atlanta Hawks in the 2014-15 season, and that team would go on to finish with an Eastern Conference-best 60-22 record, despite not having a true superstar on the roster.
Three of his Hawks teammates — Al Horford, Paul Millsap, and Jeff Teague — were selected as reserves for the 2015 East team. When Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade had to bow out with an injury, the Hawks’ unexpected success proved fortuitous for Korver, who was named an injury replacement by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
Kyle Korver recalls making the 2015 All-Star Game: "That had never even been on my radar. I don’t really consider myself that level of player. … It was an unbelievable experience for me — another thing in my career that I never could have imagined." pic.twitter.com/SwjAszRoy0
At the time he was named, Korver became the fourth-oldest first-time All-Star in NBA history, at 33 years, 11 months. He was averaging 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists at the time, while shooting 51.6 percent from the field, 52.8 from the 3-point line, and 92.0 from the free-throw line, while the Hawks boasted a 43-10 record.
Now, he said, it’s time for some of his Jazz teammates to get their turn.
“Hopefully we have at least one guy who makes it. I think Rudy [Gobert]’s definitely deserving, and Donovan [Mitchell], this last month, has been really special,” Korver said. “But the West is tough — we’ll see what happens.”
Week in review
• Donovan Mitchell has already said he won’t compete in this year’s dunk contest, but it looks like he’ll still take part in All-Star weekend. The second-year guard was named to the Rising Stars Challenge on Tuesday night. [TRIB]
• Many Jazz fans were hoping for the imminent return of the injured Dante Exum, Thabo Sefolosha, and Raul Neto, but it wasn’t to be. The Jazz announced Tuesday night that Exum is out at least through the All-Star break, and the other two will miss another week at minimum. [TRIB]
• Anthony Davis’ demand to be traded from New Orleans has sparked a renewed debate about what can be done to keep superstars with small-market franchises. Tribune columnist Gordon Monson applied the premise to the Jazz and their ability to hang on to Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. [TRIB]
• The NBA’s trade deadline is fast approaching. While Anthony Davis is an unrealistic target for the Jazz, there are some other relatively big names who might prove a fit in Utah. [TRIB]
• All-Star Game reserves will be announced Thursday. While Rudy Gobert has certainly proved worthy of selection to the game, what are his chances of actually making it? [TRIB]
• With the Jazz beset by injuries, many have praised Donovan Mitchell for stepping up and taking on more playmaking responsibilities. But his backcourt-mate for much of that time, Royce O’Neale, also proved his worth in that stretch. [TRIB]
• While the federal government was shut down, some Jazz season ticket-holders and some employees with the team came up with an idea for a small way to ease furloughed workers’ plight — free Jazz tickets. [TRIB]
• ESPN.com’s Tim MacMahon notes that while the situations aren’t exactly similar, there are some parallels to be drawn between last season’s slow start and epic finish, and this season’s slow start and strong turnaround. [ESPN]
• It’s no secret that, to be championship contenders, the Jazz likely will have to add another big piece at some point. Deseret News columnist Brad Rock wondered exactly how the team might best go about that. [Des News]
• UtahJazz.com feature writer Aaron Falk and social media director Angie Treasure host the Jazz’s podcast, “The Note,” and caught up with former Jazz forward and bon vivant Boris Diaw to discuss his latest grand adventures and rehash some past glories. [Utah Jazz]
• Jazz reserve center Ekpe Udoh announced on social media that the next installment in his “Ekpe’s Book Club” series will be the autobiography of Jazz owner Gail Miller. [Twitter]
• Vivint, the title sponsor of the Jazz’s arena, has been earning positive feedback for its use of various Jazz players in advertising spots over the past several months. A pair of serious ads three months ago featuring heartfelt messages from Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have been followed up in the past week with a trio of humorous ads featuring Gobert as a fine art connoisseur, Mitchell as a “cat guy,” and Ricky Rubio as a wannabe pop star. [YouTube]
• Donovan Mitchell was struggling last week in Minnesota. Tony Jones of The Athletic wrote about how Ricky Rubio allowing Mitchell to be the one to shoot a technical free throw helped turn the game around. (Note: Content from The Athletic requires either a free trial sign-up or a subscription.) [The Athletic]
• Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News wrote about a run at a Florida rec center alongside his father against a group of “grown men” helped set a then-18-year-old Jae Crowder on a path that would eventually take him to the NBA. [Des News]
Quote of the week
Even though the Jazz’s schedule has been home-heavy of late, Kyle Korver was appreciative of the team coming back to Salt Lake City in between Sunday’s road game in Minneapolis and tonight’s in Portland, noting that sometimes even short stops at home can make a big difference:
“Yeah, it’s lovely. Come home, get a little more time with our own routines, right? We have our own practice facility, all of our beautiful amenities here, and [get to] be with our families at night,” he said. “The schedule was pretty brutal for awhile; now it’s turned, and we’ve got a nice little stretch here.”
The Jazz are in Portland tonight to take on the Blazers for the fourth time this season. After that, they’ve got yet another four-game homestand coming up: vs. the Hawks this Friday; against the Rockets on Saturday; the Suns visit next Wednesday; and against the Spurs on Saturday, Feb. 9.